With the Dodgers desperate for right-handed bats, Pirates superstar Andrew McCutchen may be a fit for the Dodgers.
Let’s get a little crazy Dodgers fans.
It has long been known that the Dodgers are searching for right-handed bats and they have since made it public. Whilst much of the attention paid towards this search has been on infielders to replace free agents Justin Turner and Chase Utley, the front office, lead by Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have also reportedly checked in on outfielders JD Martinez and Yoenis Cespedes. Both of those options would represent significant upgrades for a lineup that struggled greatly against left handed pitching in each of the last two seasons. But that’s not who we’re here to talk about. Rather one option not yet reportedly explored is former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen.
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McCutchen, the face of the Pirates franchise since his debut in 2009, may have priced himself out of the small market Bucs with his stellar performances over the last 7 seasons. Between 2009 and 2015 McCutchen ranked as the games best centerfielder amassing an impressive 40.2 WAR (apologies to Mike Trout who didn’t debut until 2012) powered by a .298/.388/.496 triple slash line with 151 homeruns and 154 stolen bases. That was good for a 144 wRC+ while grading out as roughly average at a premium defensive position. Yep, McCutchen was a genuine superstar.
However, with top prospects Josh Bell and Austin Meadows left with nothing to prove in the minors and the Pirates always having to try to stay ahead of the curve financially, Pittsburgh appears increasingly willing to move the long time star. However, McCutchen’s trade value may be a little difficult to gauge.
Pittsburgh GM Neil Huntington has reportedly set a high intial asking price. However, despite the numbers above, the star centerfielder is coming off a rough campaign in which he managed just a .256/.336/.450 triple slash line, the worst of his career. With a disappointing recent performance and questions starting to surface about McCutchen’s defense and the grace with which his skill set may decline, rival executives will be looking to buy low.
The Dodgers may just happen to be one of those teams looking to buy low on McCutchen’s services. With a desperate need for offense against left-handed pitching, McCutchen would be a massive boost to the lineup if you’re willing to bet on a bounce back in 2017. Whilst their are already plenty of solid options in the outfield for the Dodgers, McCutchen would be an upgrade over each of them. McCutchen’s power/speed combination would be a great fit at the top of the lineup surrounded by run producers Corey Seager, Adrian Gonzalez and Yasmani Grandal.
As it stands, Joc Pederson may have the edge defensively in center, so one could envision a situation where McCutchen starts in left field against right-handed pitching and spells Pederson in center against southpaws. A potential starting outfield of McCutchen, Pederson and Yasiel Puig as the potential to be one of the best units in baseball on both sides of the ball and with Trayce Thompson and Andre Ethier available off the bench, would be a real strength for the Dodgers in 2017.
McCutchen is unlikely to be moved cheaply but the Dodgers have plenty of exciting young arms that could entice the Pirates. Perhaps a centerpiece like Yadier Alvarez or Jose de Leon may get the conversation started.
This is all purely idle speculation but the addition of McCutchen would be a great way to move the needle against left-handed pitching. With the star under control for 2 more seasons, McCutchen could make a real impact in LA.